Working Stiff (Revivalist #1) by Rachel Caine
Bryn Davis was killed on the job after discovering her bosses were selling a drug designed to resurrect the dead. Now, revived by that same drug, she becomes an undead soldier in a corporate war to take down the very pharmaceutical company responsible for her new condition…
I’ve always been a pretty big fan of Rachel Caine, though in the past there’s been something about her that put me on edge that I couldn’t quite place. It’s not that I don’t like any one book in particular, but that I end up getting annoyed with her if I read too much in a row. There are a lot of authors I feel that way with, where I can only read two or three books of theirs back to back before I get frustrated and end up giving up on the series, but it seems to be worse with Caine for some reason. I thought it was the writing style at first, but then I read her Morganville series, or a good chunk of it, and decided that wasn’t the problem—I didn’t have this same need to distance myself from her when I read those books. Then I finished Working Stiff this evening and I think I’ve finally placed it.
She doesn’t pull her punches.
I’m not one to mind intense scenes—like most avid readers, I actually quite enjoy them; they’re the reason we all get lost in the worlds of the excellent books we read. I don’t mind gruesome either—that kind of comes with the genre. What I think puts me on edge is reality—and Caine does a very good job of making her monsters real.
I have a love/hate relationship with the ability to do that. I absolutely love books that come to life and suck me in—normally that comes with some distance to it, especially in the fantasy genre, because we, as readers, are trained to “suspend disbelief,” as my dad says. There’s something about Caine’s abilities as a writer that breaks down that extra barrier and doesn’t require suspense of your disbelief, because everything she is telling you is real—djinn really do come out of glass bottles (Weather Warden series), vampires really do own the streets (and houses) of Morganville, Texas (Morganville Vampires), and nanobots really can keep you alive while your body rots.
I was entranced with this book even while I was disturbed by the sequence of events. It was masterfully crafted, and I think that honestly kind of scared me a little, if only because I can’t imagine going through the process just to do the kind of research Caine must have done to be able to get every detail. There were times I wanted to set it down just to clear my head, but I always wanted to come back.
This was a great book, and I highly recommend reading it. I’m almost sad that I have to get through book 3 by the end of the month for my book club, though, simply because I think my nerves need a little time to relax. At this point, I don’t really have much else to say …